(b Basel, 8 July 1941)
Swiss dancer, choreographer, and ballet master. He studied with Walter Kleiber in Basel then at the School of American Ballet, American Ballet Center, and London Dance Centre. He was a soloist with Basel Ballet (1960–3), then danced with Cologne Ballet (1963–6), Royal Winnipeg Ballet (1966–7), and Les Grands Ballets Canadiens (1967–71). In 1971 he became choreographer and soloist with Geneva Ballet where he created his first work, Le Chemin (mus. Gaudibert, 1971), after which he was ballet director with Basel Ballet (1973–91). Here, he raised the company's technical standards, introducing works from many choreographers, such as Balanchine, Béjart, Taylor, and Cranko. He also choreographed over 80 works including Petrushka (mus. Stravinsky 1974), A Midsummer Night's Dream (mus. Mendelssohn, 1976), Romeo and Juliet (mus. Prokofiev, 1977), and Stabat Mater (mus. Pärt, 1987). His style is neo-classical but his dramatic, full-length ballets feature distinctive characterization and humour. His version of La Fille mal gardée, created for the Paris Opera in 1981, is widely considered to be the most successful since Ashton's. He has created works for many other companies, including Berlin Opera Ballet and Stuttgart Ballet, as well as choreographing for television and film. In 1991 he was appointed artistic director and choreographer of the German Opera on the Rhine, Düsseldorf, where he raised technical standards and built up audiences with a neo-classical repertoire that includes his own works plus those of choreographers like Balanchine and van Manen. Between 1996 and 2010 he returned to direct the Zurich Ballet where he introduced works by choreographers like van Manen and Forsythe as well as creating numerous ballets, including his fourth version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, and versions of Cinderella (mus. Prokofiev, 2000), Daphnis and Chloe (2004), Les Noces (2006), and Don Quixote (2006). He has worked as guest choreographer and teacher all around the world.
http://www.spoerli.ch Website for Heinz Spoerli